Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Asimauve, Apr 6, 2015.
Tell me TGP !
I had an Ultra and a bandmate of mine had a Plus back in the day.
There is a sense of nostalgia about them, when I think back, esp. since those were great times, and the Ultra was my first >$200 guitar and I really grew a lot with that guitar. That said, do they sound or play better than a current American Deluxe? No. In fact, when I think back objectively, the Ultra sounded a bit too big and woofy, and the Plus was a bit too crisp. I actually replaced the pickups in my Ultra eventually with a pair of original '62 Strat single coils and some DiMarzio humbucker in the bridge and it was a great improvement. My friend sold his Plus and picked up a '78 Strat that sounded freaking godly.
So ultimately, buy what you want and enjoy the crap out of it. They are really well built guitars with great necks! But I don't feel there's anything particularly special about them.
I love Graffiti Yellow.
My Strat Plus kinda sucked.
Recent American Standard FTW.
Played one for a long time. Bought for short $$, sold for short $$. Mine was that kind of coral-not-quite-fiesta-red. I liked the color. I did not care for the roller nut. The sensors were OK.
The colors are the greatest thing about Pluses and that color is kinda neat. I don't think I'd ever pay large $$ for one though. Mine was a good guitar but it wasn't that special.
Because you'll be seen from space!!!
I had a Blue Lace Sensor in the neck position of my pointy headstocked neck through custom guitar back in the day.
It was not what I dreamed it would be.
A great player will make a Lace Sensor equipped guitar sound great. But then again, they will make anything sound great.
They are solid guitars, which I believe sound much better with other pickups.
It's a strat, nothing more, nothing less, with it's own pickups, as chosen by Fender for that model, just like they do with every model of theirs.
If you happen upon the right one and it speaks to you, you'll hear it. If it doesn't speak to you, you'll know that as well, and move on.
Once you undress the guitar down to it's neck and unadorned body, basically it gets down to the wood and whether you like the weight and how it sounds to you. Everything else can be changed out to suit your desires.
I've had a few. The guitars from that era are well-built and solid machines. That is a super cool color, and the necks are usually pretty comfy. Some people get along great with the Lace Sensors, some do not - they really are their own thing.
Basically, if you want a well-built strat in that color, do it up. You can always change the pickups and whatever.
I have a Blue Burst Ultra which was Fenders top production model at the time and a lot of them were built with CS parts. One of the best looking Strats Iown and built like a tank. I have never been crazy for Lace Sensor pups though, but they take to effects pedals really well. This was Fenders answer to the SuperStrat craze and would of been better suited with more high octane pups. The Gold Lace sensors are big with a lot of players and were the pups of choice in the original Clapton sigs. I own a bunch of Strats and this one has served me well through the years and I really like the Floyd-II trems on them as the guitar holds tune solid with the LSR and there is no locking nut.Try one out and see if it gels with you because fairly clean models are easy to move. You just have to be careful because loads of them have been modded.
Why is it better? Well, it's a Strat... PLUS! So it's worth that much more than a regular strat!
The first guitar I ever bought was an '87 Strat Plus in sea-foam green. Back then there was no internet so I found it in the local newspaper classified ads. My step-dad loaned me the money. I had that guitar for several years but eventually sold it because I really didn't play it enough to justify having it when I was 18 years old.
Anyway, I don't have an opinion on the pickups but I liked the guitar and the roller nut and locking tuners were elegant and effective.
I agree with what the others are saying. You are better off with an American Standard or an American Deluxe. Get one from someone where you can see the weight before you buy.
In the mid-90s, I bought a new Fender Stratocaster from Guitar Trader. There were three models offered at that time--a Fender American Standard, an Fender American Deluxe, and an Fender American Deluxe Plus. For whatever reason, I ended up with the Deluxe Plus. The guitar did sound and play nice but did not enjoy the bridge and pickups. It had these upgraded features: locking tuners, lace sensors, a roller nut, a Fender Floyd-Rose bridge, and an ash-over-alder body. It is a heavy guitar at 8.5 pounds due to the ash-over-alder boy. When I moved overseas it sat in closet for a long time.
I rescued the guitar and started playing it again about 7 years ago. I still liked the guitar but I decided what I really wanted in the mid-90s was an American Standard. The first thing I changed was the bridge. I replaced it with one of the older American Standard bridge. That made the guitar more usable. When the American Standards were updated with vintage bridge I put one of those in. After that I tried a bunch of different pickups. First some Texas Specials, then DiMarzio Areas, and finally some Don Mare Josie/Vaughns. The Josie/Vaughns set really made the guitar shine. It was immediately wow!!
I finally have an American Standard which sounds and plays fantastic. It has the extra features of locking tuners, a roller nut, and an ash-over-alder body. I have thought about swapping the body but I am okay with a heavy Strat and a lighter Strat--my 2009 Am Dlx is 7.2 pounds. It was a long road just to get good Strat.
I had one. The LSR or Wilkinson Nut, locking tuners, and all that I didn't find added much to the Standard Strat of that era. I think the primary reason to get one are the Lace Golds, which are different than the ones sold today. The ones in the old Plusses had metal plates on the bottom and they were quite fat, punchy, and warm sounding, but like many of the complaints about them, they are a bit sterile and not very dynamic. There is a rubbery sort of attack to Lace Sensors that some loved and some don't. I likened the sound to be a bit like a cross between a Tele and Les Paul. Really good if it were your ONLY guitar, but because I had a traditional Strat and a Les Paul, I didn't see this getting a lot of play.
One thing I did love about them was that single notes and arpeggios really have a way of cutting through and standing out. And when overdriven the sound is very tight like a hot humbucker, but in the same way chords played through the guitar didn't have a lot of single note definition.
maybe you should look for a Ultra.
The Ultra to me is hte best guitar Fender has ever made.
I suppose the closest thing to the Plus/Ultra being retailed today (i.e. Fender) is the Jeff Beck Artist Series.
LSR nut, Hot Vintage Noiseless (that I replaced with a set of Duncan SSL-1s), locking tuners. No TBX tone control but I wasn't interested in that, anyway.
For me, even with the setups not done on the showroom floor models, it played, sounded, and just felt better than American Standards/American Standard Dlxs.
I've only played two...one that a good friend owns (like the neck on that one), and one at a shop in NYC over Christmas/New Year's break.
Honestly, I didn't care for the Lace pups, an easy fix, other than that, nothing really unique about the strat plus. IMHO
Cant think of a reason... maybe the yellow...
I love the Ultra I have, and I've had it since it was new; I bought it in 1990. I have red dually, gold, and a blue Lace Sensors (HSS arrangement) in this one. I bought it as a general improvement over my 1970 Stratocaster, which has a 4 bolt plate. The one thing I hated in the 1970 was the bridge pickup which sounded thin and tinny, and I thought without a tone control on it, made it worse. So I got the Ultra in Firestorm Red and to this day I play the Ultra about 75% of the time, when I need a Strat sound.
The Blue Sensor was the one pickup I only got used to in the last few years, after monkeying with the height of the pickup. I got it to a great balance between the treble and bass strings and it sounds like a husky P90, but with more treble definition. The one thing about the Lace Sensors and effects is that your effects are louder and cleaner. A Fuzz pedal will sound fuzzier with a Lace than a noisy single coil. Sometimes the older Strat just sounds like mush with some pedals.
Also the Plus/Ultra guitars were some special guitars, built like tanks, as the newish Fender company at that time were not willing to repeat the mistakes of the past, like no USA production in 1985, due cash flow problems. They both had locking tuners and roller nuts. I have a Wilkinson nut (2nd generation), which can take up to 0.011s in diameter. The plus's had maple necks and boards. The Ultra's had maple necks and ebony boards. Both had a Tremsetter on the tremolo, and while controversial, really helps to stabilize tuning. Modern C necks and 9.5" radius are staples of these guitars.
I have had a long history with the Ultra. I try the newer Strats and they just don't sound good to me, with the new noiseless pickups. They sound lifeless to me, making it more necessary to have pedals to coax the sound from them. I feel that the older 1970 Strat sounds better, as this model is similar to the early CBS Strats made famous by Jimi Hendrix. Read up on the Plus on this site:
Never heard them descibed this way but it explains why I used to do a lot of finger picking (folk acoustic style) and it gave a smooth and even response. Replaced them with Fralins eventually because the Laces sounded dark, but have not been able to finger pick as well on a Strat since then. I guess I could always run through a compressor, but I don't think it would sound the same. I regretted changing them out on this particular guitar, but I was listening to the advice of "friends" who owned a music store, who "upgraded" it until it was a real pos. Live and learn.
BTW, my Deluxe Plus has gold sprinkles in the dark sunburst part near the neck joint. It is hard to photograph. That is the only thing that makes it really unique. Anyone know the story behind the gold sprinkles?
I had a Plus and it was a nice guitar, but it was a boat anchor. Over 9 pounds. The only reason I'd buy a Plus again is if I wanted my left shoulder to be permanently lower than my right one.